American Citizenship Ceremony One of Many Highlights for 2023 FusionFest Festival
It was a historic moment at this year’s FusionFest opening ceremony, where two dozen immigrants became United States citizens surrounded by marching bands, a field of hundreds of flags and various other festivities. The citizenship ceremony was an inspiring collaboration between FusionFest and United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
FusionFest’s annual two-day festival in downtown Orlando draws people from more than 110 different cultures to experience music, dance, food, visual arts, spoken word, games and interactive activities. The non-profit organization also organizes weekly and monthly (both virtual and in-person) events that keep the community engaged and connected to the cultural diversity in Central Florida. The festival is a project of the Orange County Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs.
Terry Olson, director of Orange County Arts & Cultural Affairs, and one of FusionFest’s board members, Joe Sarubo, witnessed a naturalization ceremony at another festival and thought it would be a great idea for FusionFest. This is the second year that the festival has held the ceremony.
“The festival celebrates the diversity our community has as a result of immigration from other parts of the United States and the world,” said Olson, “and the ceremony was an emotional and tangible event that demonstrated how people of many different heritages are committing to this country.”
It was also a great visualization of FusionFest’s “All for Each Other” theme. Countries where the immigrants came from included Brazil, Cabo Verde, China, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Haiti, India, Jordan, Philippines, Russia, South Africa, Sweden, Turkey and Vietnam.
Other highlights of this year’s festival included a family village, fashion heritage showcase, a global exchange, haiku competition, kids global village, international marketplace, kaleidoscope signature showcase, multi-cultural choir, multicultural faith celebration, scavenger hunt, teen poetry showcase, poetry slam, visual arts gallery and world dance party.
“FusionFest provides an important platform for performers and participants from smaller communities in the County to share their lives — culture and heritage — with the greater community,” asserted Olson. “This opportunity makes both participants and other members of those communities feel seen and appreciated. As all residents feel valued, they’re more prone to positively impact their community.”
For more on the festival and other multicultural events, go to FusionFest.